Bartlett Lake, Arizona, USA
Also known as: Bartlett Reservoir
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Bartlett Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Bartlett Lake
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Bartlett Lake Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Bartlett Lake Gifts
Looking for Bartlett Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Bartlett Lake
When driving across Arizona, it is always an amazing experience to come upon a lake. With the desert landscape surrounding the water, the lake jumps out as the sapphire hues of the water sparkle against the jagged terrain. Bartlett Lake is one of those lakes in Arizona. A man-made reservoir, Bartlett Lake was formed by the damming of the Verde (Spanish: “Green”) River. The pristine water of the Verde River was spoken of descriptively in legends of the Indians of the valley who called the water “sweet waters”. The lake is framed by Sonoran desert scenery, with gentle sloping beaches on the west side and the rugged Mazatzal Mountains on the east side, studded with saguaro cacti and blooming Ocotillo. Located less than an hour from downtown Phoenix, Bartlett Lake can be found in the Tonto National Forest. While the facilities located at Bartlett Lake are managed by the Forest Service, the water levels are controlled by SRP (Salt River Project) – one of Arizona’s largest utilities as a provider of power and water.
The primary inflow of Bartlett Lake is the Verde River. A 7,500 square mile watershed, fed by melted snow and runoff, begins just south of Flagstaff, flows east to Payson and the Mogollon Rim and then west near Prescott. The runoff goes into the Verde River. It continues into Horseshoe Lake and is then transferred into Bartlett Lake. The primary outflow is the Verde River. When full, Bartlett Lake covers 2,815 acres and holds nearly 180,000 acre feet of water.
Bartlett Lake experiences dramatic water level fluctuations. During 2008, the water levels have been very high, often above 95% full. The high water levels have resulted in debris in the water, so anglers should be on the lookout, but overall, visitors will be delighted with their fishing experience at Bartlett Lake. Fishermen can cast from the shore or from a boat (which can be rented) to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, crappie, carp, sunfish and bluegill. There is a fish cleaning station where anglers can prepare their catch for an evening meal around a campfire.
Bartlett Lake is a water recreation wonderland that includes water skiing, jet skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, swimming and shoreline camping. Hiking among the desert flora is an added experience, and hikers frequently see native wildlife including mule deer, javelina, coyotes and the rare bald eagle. Jojoba Trail, a 1.3 mile hiking trail along the shores of the lake, stretches from the Rattlesnake Cove Recreation Site to the Jojoba Boating Site, along the lake’s western shore. Rattlesnake Cove has restrooms, drinking water and extensive picnic facilities. Camping is allowed at Bartlett Lake, under the auspices of the Tonto National Forest. However, there are no designated campgrounds or hookups. In 2004, the Cave Creek Ranger District opened Bartlett Lake to long term visitor RV camping. Camping – for up to 6 months – is permitted in the paved parking areas between October 1 and March 31 each year.
Bartlett Lake’s close proximity to the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas makes it an ideal location for residents and vacationers. The lake is open all year long. It is most crowded during the hot summer months as visitors swarm to the cool refreshing waters and tranquil nights under the brilliant stars. It is a good idea to arrive early, as rangers restrict the number of boats on the lake at any given time.
Things to Do at Bartlett Lake
- Vacation Rentals
- Jet Skiing
- Water Skiing
- Wildlife Viewing
- National Forest
Fish Species Found at Bartlett Lake
- Black Bass
- Largemouth Bass
- Smallmouth Bass
Find Places to Stay at Bartlett Lake
If you’re considering a Bartlett Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Bartlett Lake Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Bartlett Lake lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
- Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
- TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
- Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
- KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
- RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
- CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Bartlett Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: SRP (Salt River Project)
Surface Area: 2,815 acres
Shoreline Length: 33 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,798 feet
Average Depth: 63 feet
Maximum Depth: 174 feet
Water Volume: 178,186 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1939
Drainage Area: 5,815 sq. miles
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